Faced with a host of unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic, some businesses are still struggling while others have thrived. Some used the crisis as an opportunity to pivot their business models and grow, while others have constantly been on the brink of closure. As Ontarians, we should all be concerned about the thousands of small businesses overwhelmed by cash flow constraints and uncertainty as the impacts of the pandemic continue to hobble the economy. Our own survey data suggests business confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook had improved significantly in Fall 2021 from last year’s record low. However, labor shortages, supply chain issues, rising inflation, the Omicron variant, and further restrictions are dampening that initial optimism. Still, we look to this New Year with hope and optimism.
As part of our continued commitment to the business community and to support regional economic recovery, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of programs and resources to our members. Together with our network of chambers across the province, we delivered a Shop Local program to encourage Ontarians to support local small businesses. Our Student Work Placement Program (TOP) supports businesses with their talent needs and provides students with work-integrated learning opportunities. Our work with the Discover Ability Network continues to supply resources and training for businesses to become more inclusive.
Meanwhile, our policy and advocacy priorities have evolved in tandem with the crisis, providing timely and evidence-based analysis on pressing issues including municipal financial sustainability, access to capital for small businesses looking to grow, strategies and resources for companies to address mental wellness in the workplace, and the systemic threat of climate change on Ontario’s business community. Beyond this, we continue to inform and influence public policy decisions with our councils on critical files such as health, infrastructure, cannabis, energy, and workforce development.
Together with 157 member chambers of commerce and boards of trade and our network’s diverse 60,000 members, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is the indispensable partner of the business. In 2022, we will continue working with our members to advance business prosperity and support small businesses across the province.
President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)
A successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant, Rocco Rossi joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in 2018 as President and CEO.
Prior to joining the OCC, Rossi most recently served as President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada where he helped to advance the research, advocacy, education, and awareness of the most common cancer in men.
Mr. Rossi also served as CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation – one of Canada’s largest non-profit organizations – overseeing consecutive years of record fundraising combining for over $600 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives.